Indian National Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death penalty by Pakistani Military Court last week sending India-Pakistan diplomatic efforts in the past two years into a tailspin. India is outraged over the decision and the fact that the court proceedings were conducted in secret and there is sufficient evidence to believe were biased.
Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav?
India’s official statement claim Kulbhushan Jadhav to be a retired navy official while Pakistan arrested him on account of him being a RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) agent working in Balochistan region.
In an investigation carried out The Economic Times, it was found that the ex-navy official had been working in Iran under the fake name ‘Hussein Mubarak Patel’ and was carrying a fake passport when he was nabbed in Balochistan.
The official residence of Kulbhushan Jadhav has been identified in Mumbai but when a reporter tried to find out about him from his neighbors, he discovered something peculiar.
Kulbhushan Jadhav had rented out a flat, which has now turned out be in his mother’s name, under the name Hussein Mubarak Patel. One of the neighbors said Jadhav never really lived in the flat. He would come and leave with some luggage. In her opinion, it seemed the flat was being used as some kind of Storage area.
Beginning of the trouble
Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 in Balochistan on charges of being a RAW agent and fuelling the Baloch separatist movement and attempting to sabotage the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) project.
“RAW agent Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav was tried by FGCM under section 59 of Pakistan Army act 1952. He confessed before a magistrate and the court that he was tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organize sabotage activities,” said the ISPR’s (Inter-services public relation) statement which is the media wing of the Pak military.
Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa “has confirmed his death sentence awarded by FGCM,” it added.
A few Peculiarities
The first odd thing about the case is the fact the proceedings were carried out in secret with just the judge and the counsels attending the courtroom. The question here arises that what compelled the army to hurry into sentencing the Indian navy veteran to death?
The decisions came two days after an ISI operative was reportedly nabbed by Indian military near India-Nepal border. Lt Col Muhammad Habib Zahir of Pakistani army disappeared from Lumbini, a Buddhist pilgrimage site near India’s border town of Sonauli, where he had apparently gone for a job interview.
It appears that the plan was to use Kulbhushan Jadhav as a bargaining chip to trade off prisoners of war from India, but the disappearance of ISI agent escalated the tension between the two authorities.
Secondly, despite the Pakistani claims to have given Kulbhushan Jadhav a fair trial, there are sufficient reasons to believe otherwise. Despite Indian embassy’s 13 requests to provide an Indian counsel to Jadhav, Pakistan appointed one of its own army lawyers as counsel of defence.
The Charges against Kulbhushan Jadhav are “for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan” as the official document reads out. He is seen repeating the exact same words in the exact same order in his confession video, which according to forensic experts appears to have been tempered with.
Thirdly, the entire course of proceedings has been thoroughly dominated by Pakistani military rather than the government. The fact that Jadhav was tried in a military court instead of a civil court, out in Public eye is a violation of International laws in itself.
The Geneva Convention Rights
Article 5 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides: “Where in occupied territory an individual protected person is detained as a spy … such … [person] shall nevertheless be treated with humanity, and in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed by the present Convention
If the combatant is engaged in “armed conflict not of an international character” then under the Article 3 of the general provisions of the Geneva Conventions they should be “treated humanely”, and if tried “sentences must … be pronounced by a regularly constituted court”
Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit was scheduled to turn up at South Block in New Delhi on Monday to meet foreign secretary S Jaishankar and convey his country’s gratitude to the Indian Coastguard for rescuing Pakistani fishermen.
Instead, he ended up being summoned. Why?
Because hours before his ‘thank you’ meeting, a Pakistan military court ordered execution of Indian national and former military officer Kulbhushan Jadhav.
India has called of defense talks with Pakistan and Indian leaders have said that if Jadhav dies, it will be considered ‘premeditated murder’.
The relations between the two countries have not been rosy otherwise and the recent Pakistani provocation has presented the Modi government with the biggest diplomatic trouble since they were elected to power in 2014.
In a move to usher sympathy towards the Indian national, All India Radio launched a campaign in its Pakistani coverage areas. “We have been trying to emphasise in our bulletins that the sentence defies all tenets of Islam,” AIR’s Director General Fayyaz Sheheryar told Economic Times. These bulletins have also urged the people of Pakistan to speak up against this “anti- Islamic” act of their state.